British singer/songwriter Lynne Jackaman is now part of a musical legacy that includes some of the greatest musicians of our times.
Following a successful run with her rock and soul outfit Saint Jude, Lynne Jackaman decided it was time to flex her creative muscles with a new challenge and so her latest solo project was born.
It’s fair to say that Jackaman’s debut solo album has been somewhat of a labour of love for the South London originating artist. But like all good things, they come to those who wait, and this has definitely been the approach with this record. Lynne resisted the pressures of the music industry in order to wait until everything was in its right place before unleashing her magnum opus.
And whilst Lynne Jackaman’s debut solo album One Shot, is now getting closer to its full release, in the meantime, the versatile vocalist unveils a brand new four-track EP that will inevitably whet her fans appetite for more of what is to come in the not too distant future.
National Rock Review recently caught up with Lynne Jackaman to talk about her new EP, her forthcoming album as well as her experiences recording at the legendary FAME studios in Muscle Shoals.
So a lot has happened for you since the last time we chatted. Obviously, you’ve been out to Muscle Shoals in Alabama where you recorded your debut album at the legendary Fame Studios. I just wanted to know how does it feel for you to now be a part of that musical legacy?
It’s still overwhelming every time I think of it, because not only is that thought something that fills me with joy but the fact that I’ve got memories to accompany that make it quite epic. It’s one of those things that you can’t explain. You can name a place, but to actually go into those four walls and feel the ghosts of everyone that’s visited there, and all of the energy that’s gone into there from all of the artists I love is something else.
I mean obviously, some of those artists like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Candi Staton they’ve all laid down some of their key recordings in that building. Being in that studio could you kind of feel that history that had been in the room previously?
Completely because you’ve got the two main studios in Fame, which is Studio A – which is the big room, where a lot of pictures are taken and you’ve got Studio B where Duane Allman would hang out trying to pick up sessions and stuff like that and sleep in there. And Sam and Dave rehearsed in there. There are all sorts of ghosts in there as well.
But what you really don’t realize is when you stand there, you really do feel the spirits in the room and also when you look up you just see all of the album covers like “I’ve Never Loved A ManThe Way I Love You” by Aretha and things like that. And it’s still got the Wurlitzer in there, that Etta James used and it’s got her cigarette burn on it. So they’ve still got mic’s that Etta used and things like that.
Rick Hall, you know, the late Rick Hall, he was very much somebody who respected the artists who walked in there and endeavoured to preserve the equipment and stuff that they’d used. So yeah, the walls are just dripping in history really – it’s crazy. And that’s without just seeing all the pictures that are in like the kitchen area, it’s just wall to wall pictures of all the people that had been in there and recorded. You just can’t quite take it in when you’re there, especially with the jet lag.
But no, I still can’t really believe it happened. But it was a massive team effort with my fans and me. And I got to make the album I wanted to make, in a place that was a life box ticked for me and I made some lifelong friends out of it as well – so it’s all good.
Besides the privilege of getting to work at Fame Studios, you also got to work with some of the legendary figures that have honed their craft in that room. So you got to work with people like Spooner Oldham, Clayton Ivey, Bob Wray, Will McFarlane and the Muscle Shoals Horns. How did those collaborations come to fruition? Did you have all of those artists in mind when you were kind of putting this project together?
The thing is that a lot of those cats, they stayed around there so they have still got the same lifeblood that they had when they were doing sessions years ago and they kind of stick it out. But Jamie Evans who produced it, he’d been there the year before and he was working on a different project and he was just like I’m going to bring something amazing back.
We got introduced and it just became, I was making an album, I had the songs ready and wanting him to produce it and he was just like, how about Muscle Shoals? And I just thought, well I’m doing a Pledge Campaign, if I can get the money then – yeah. And so it happened.
So he’d already forged relationships out there. I sent just demos that I had over to John Gifford, who’s the manager and the main engineer at Fame and actually one of the last people to be trained up by the late Rick Hall. And he just went – damn this is great. And everyone did everything they could to get me and my music out there. It just felt like so right. And that it was a collaborative team effort, but spiritually it was very odd – I can’t really explain it.
So there were all these wonderful things coming together, you know, the fact that Jamie had been there before. The fact that you know, I had these songs kind of ready to be recorded properly. And the fact that the Pledge thing raised what I needed. So yeah, it was a very kind of fortunate coming together of loads of different things really. But I mean the players are still local. I mean Spooner just came by and Clayton Ivey and the Muscle Shoals sisters who were brilliant – they just all wanted to be part of it and I wanted them to be part of it. And yeah, it just kind of happened very, very organically.
Well, that’s amazing. And obviously, these guys have worked with like a who’s who of the music industry. I just wondered to what extent did they shape the sound and direction on the album? Did you sort of give them an indication of where you’re going or did you give them a bit of a free reign? You know, how did it work in the studio?
Well, Jamie had the reins quite tight when we did the pre-production – the vision we had for it and what we wanted. Jamie played guitars and bass and some stuff across it as well. And you know, it’s very much we wanted the feel and the essence, and the experience of all those incredible players, but we also wanted to bring now to it as well. Which was probably more me and Jamie because we’re a different generation to those players.
But you also know that when you hand those kinds of players who are probably producers – there are producers like Clayton Ivey, songwriters that are themselves, they’re just going to hear what it needs as well. So there’s this coming together of pretty much everything they do is there. But then Jamie would come in and make sure that it was shaped in the way of our vision too. So it didn’t just make it sound like a live album or like someone else’s album.
It’s very important to me because the lyrics are very personal and the songs are very close to my heart. I wanted to make a stamp on my sound as well. So the collaboration of the Brits taking it to Alabama I think was a really special one. So I couldn’t imagine anyone that’s on it not being on it, to be honest.
And so One Shot, it was cut in just 12 days at Fame Studios, which is impressive. It must have been difficult to kind of get everything together logistically in such a short period of time. I mean, how much of the songs did you have written before the recording sessions and how much of it kind of came together in the studio?
Well, all of the songs were written and demoed up. And you know, I kind of took them to Jamie and then I felt they were in very much a demo form. And we then did pre-production before going into the studio, which allows you to just save some time so that you’ve got a much better idea of what you want. And then he arranged and produced it.
There are songs off the album, (which is coming) – there’s one called “Beautiful Loss”, which is a dedication, which I wrote in memory of Adam Green from Saint Jude. And, that was a very special moment. That and another track I wrote called “On My Own Stage”. You know, those two, they’re very stripped back. They’re both pretty much one takes where the players are just in the room all playing at the same time. So those two of the eleven tracks coming off my album, they came out very quickly and very easily. And it was more about just getting the right feel and the right emotion.
And I remember I lit a candle just before I started writing “Beautiful Loss” and it kind of blew itself out at the end – it was really spooky. And I was in Studio A a lot on my own. What I mean by that is down on the floor where I was singing and recording. And then you had Jamie and Spencer and John up where the sound desk is. And I would just light candles and do my vocals, you know when the sun went down. And it did, it just felt very, very magical. And I swear I saw a few things at times, but that could just be fatigue.
So asides from your album, you’ve got this new four-track EP, which is called “Supernasty”. What made you decide to put out another EP rather than going full steam ahead and releasing the album right now?
Well, I think ideally, you know, it would have been the album. But, with all due respect, you don’t want something to be like a fart in the wind. So it’s one thing to release an album, it’s another thing to make people aware that the album exists. So, you know, you have to wear two hats there. You have to kind of have your business head and your artistic head on. Because I’ve done a lot of this on my own and independently, and then obviously with Pledge Music going to administration, that slowed things up because they have some of my money, which was meant to finish. I mean, I was given enough money to record the album, but then you need the rest of the money for manufacturing, mixing and all of this. So that’s completely gone.
And then to manage the fan’s expectations as well, who’ve been incredible. But the thing for me is that it was about time goes really, really quickly. I don’t know if you find that? You know, we are getting to the point where we are halfway through the year and I do want to release my album properly. And I guess the EP was a bit more than just a single for fans who have waited so patiently and also, you know, a much broader perspective of who I am as a singer and songwriter to those fans that I haven’t made yet. And also it gives a broader spectrum for radio and reviewers to maybe pick a track that they like because as you can hear, “Supernasty” is very different. So it just felt like a good strategic move. Also, I just wanted to get something out there, to be honest. You know, as frustrated and as impatient as people may get – can you imagine how I feel? (laughing).
Having been speaking to you about this I think for three years I understand.
Well, I also didn’t expect to end up making my album in Muscle Shoals. I didn’t expect to raise the money, it all started just going into this much bigger vision than I originally thought. I realized when I listened back to the recordings that I have that it deserves as big a platform to spring off as I can get for it really. Rather than just drop it.
Listening to the song “Supernasty” itself, it’s got a real timeless quality to it. You know, it’s got that distinctive Muscle Shoals sound about it. Was that the intention with that particular song?
Yes, absolutely. I mean there’s that, and then there’s another song off my forthcoming album called “Sooner Or Later” and that was pretty much handed over to the local players as well, which was to just give it that kind of three o clock in the morning, real soul, Muscle Shoals sound.
And there are others, like “I’ll Allow You” where they just sound way funkier and a bit more stripped back. But I think that I did want to go for that with “Supernasty” and just have a hook with the horns and just, yeah, just blast it out and almost have it just like a track that makes you want to dance. I guess it’s the closest I’ll get to a tip of the hat to say Stevie or something and his songs like “Sir Duke”, “I Wish”, “Superstition” – just the songs of his that just make me smile. So I guess that’s what I was going for, really.
Probably the $64,000 question – do you have a time frame for the release of One Shot?
For me, it’s as soon as it’s possible to release it well – you know? What’s been frustrating for me is that I know what’s coming, but there’s nothing out there. So there’s only what I’ve done with Saint Jude and this and that, which of course I’m proud of, but if I’m talking about my new album and who I am now, you obviously want people to hear the new stuff. So that’s gonna be quite a game changer I think. And the EP essentially, what people must remember is it’s is a build to the album. It’s all promotional to get people wanting the album – getting ready for it, talking about it. I just figured that a four-track EP would in a way be a broader and better promotional tool and something a little bit more to give after all this time than a single.
Yeah, definitely. I mean I know that I’ve been speaking to you about this for a while now and it must feel that the album’s become somewhat of a labour of love. What do you say?
Yeah, I think music generally it’s been a labour of love with everything I went through with Saint Jude as well. I mean I should write a book, there have just been so many chapters. But you know, you just realize in life that nothing good comes easy. And also, you’ve got to really fight to do things the way you want to do them – especially in this industry. And for me, it has been a labour of love, but then at the same time, it also came together quite easily. So I guess it had to come didn’t it? At some point (laughing).
So in terms of doing like a full tour in support or the EP is that on the cards at the minute?
You know, if it’s down to me then I want my album out yesterday and I want to be touring the world, you know, but things cost money and it’s strategic and I think that all comes into the bracket of releasing it when I can do it right. And ideally, I would like to announce the release date of the album, which is totally targeted for this year, and some dates, you know, but it’s just getting all those ducks in a row. But when you’re independent and you’re doing it yourself – there’s money and there’s so much to kind of overlook. So I’m just going to see what the little EP does first and then build on it from there. And just, you know, do my best.
The Supernasty EP by Lynne Jackaman is out now across most digital platforms. For anyone wishing to ‘support the artist’ and pay for a download then it will be available on Lynne’s bandcamp page. For further details please visit Lynne’s social links below.